This is the end of my Michael Jackson writing for a while, but I enjoyed the essays on Jackson at Salon.com, particularly this one:
Alex Koppelman, Salon staff writer
"Thriller" was the first album I ever owned. It came out a week before I was born; a friend of my mother's gave it to me when I was still an infant -- she was worried all the classical music my parents were playing would turn me into a nerd. I doubt she ever had any idea what she was really doing for me: For the first 10 years of my life, that album meant the world to me. It still does.
It's awful to say so soon after, but what happened Thursday might have been the best thing for his legacy. Yes, he was about to go back on stage, and his shows had sold out. But so much of the excitement, now, was the perverse pleasure we all take in watching a tightrope walker work without a net. Had he lived, continuing down his downward spiral, the turmoil and scandal might have obscured his music for good. Now that he's gone, we can allow ourselves to think of him the way we've always wanted to. After he was pronounced dead, the obsessive fandom that had become taboo, left to the kooks who were still true-believers, was suddenly alive again. Everyone was listening to Thriller, crowds flocked back to Indiana to say goodbye and people were dancing and singing in front of the Apollo for him.
This morning an intern and I talked about the shows he was scheduled to do, and how unlikely it was that he would have been up for a run of 50 shows, and how neither of us ever imagined that Jackson would live long enough to grow old and withered.